Tom Brady happy to have one more season with preferred helmet

The Riddell VSR-4 helmet, introduced in 1993, won't be used in the NFL after the 2018 season. That means Tom Brady will need to find a new lid. Michael Dwyer/AP Photo

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is returning for the 2018 season and he hopes for a few more after that. His helmet, though, will be retiring after one more year.

For the first time, the NFL isn't allowing players to wear just any helmet, as they've created a list of acceptable choices based on their biomechanical testing. This was supported by the NFL Players Association, and Brady's long-preferred Riddell VSR-4 helmet didn't make the cut.

While he's happy to have one more season to wear it, Brady is also OK with the change.

"It's a good thing. They're trying to find helmets the players will wear that will absorb force better. I think that's a positive," Brady said Monday at the Milken Institute Global Conference. "I still wear a very old helmet, probably out of habit. You talk about behavioral changes are hard; I've tried new helmets and I'm like, 'Doesn't work, get that out of here!' You just have to get comfortable with it."

One of those times came in 2012, when Brady experimented with different helmets.

But for a creature of habit, and perhaps with some superstition in mind (the Patriots lost the games he tried a new helmet), Brady kept going back to the old helmet.

The NFL's focus on helmets comes after the league recorded an almost 16 percent rise in diagnosed concussions from 2016 to 2017. On Tuesday, the league began a two-day safety meeting in New York.

"The reality is that the people who make the rules, they're trying to make the game a bit safer," Brady said. "It's still a violent game. It's going to be. You have the best athletes in the world at the fastest speeds, and who weigh the most. It's a lot of force."

Along those lines, one rule change that was adopted in March was to penalize players who lower their helmets to make contact. Brady said he isn't sure how that might affect his patented quarterback sneak, which has been a calling card for him as he plows forward.

Will that play now be a penalty?

"I hope not," Brady said. "That's about my only rushing stats for the game."

And pretty much his career.

Brady is 110-of-122 in terms of converting quarterback sneaks into first downs. He's 84-of-92 on third-and-2 or less and 26-of-30 on fourth-and-2 or less.